Jon Armstrong has taken the Vatanen Touch award at the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy shoot-out today that will see him drive an M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta R2T in 2016.
The Northern Irishman went up against nine other drivers as they battled to a fully funded season in the FIA World Rally Championship supporting Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy.
Series organisers created the Vatanen Touch to allow private drivers the chance to compete alongside regular drivers. One driver was nominated from each round along with competitors from the main Trophy who contested all five events.
Armstrong gained his place following a promising performance at Rally Spain which also marked his world rally début.
The full list of competitors were:
Jon Armstrong (UK) – Rally Spain nominee
Mats van den Brand (Netherlands)
Tom Cave (UK)
Kevin van Deijne (Netherlands)
Gus Greensmith (UK)
John MacCrone (UK) – Rally Deutschland nominee
Mikko-Ove Niinemae (Estonia) – Estonian DMACK Cup Winner
Eerik Pietarinen (Finland) – Rally Finland nominee
Brendan Reeves (Australia) – Wildcard
Max Vatanen (Finland)
While Armstrong took the top prize, it was hard fought by Brendan Reeves, who claimed second place.
“Winning this prize means the world to me.” said Armstrong. “It’s a great opportunity for me to step up to the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy next season and really make the most of it. Competing on Spain this year was fantastic and I’m really looking forward to more WRC events and proving to DMACK and M-Sport that they made the right choice.”
The two-day assessment took place at M-Sport’s HQ and included physical and media tests before 2015 M-Sport World Rally Team driver Elfyn Evans scrutinised driving skills behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R2.
Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director was happy with the level of competition the event saw, “I was really impressed with the quality and dedication of all the finalists and it demonstrates how eager our Fiesta drivers are to progress their careers.
“However, Jon shone through and I’m confident he will make the most of this excellent opportunity in next season’s Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy.”
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, added, “The success of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy has surpassed our expectations again this year and the Vatanen Touch is another way for us to reward private drivers and competitors who have supported our series.
“Jon has really impressed us today and we are looking forward to giving him our full support as he steps up to WRC action next season.”